Responsibly sourced fish

Filet-O-Fish is one of our best-loved menu items, and the McDonald’s Sustainable Fisheries Standard guides all our purchases to ensure that McDonald’s sources from sustainably managed fisheries.


Why it matters

We agree with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) that healthy oceans are essential for thriving marine ecosystems, livelihoods and economies. This is why our goal is to source 100% of our wild-caught fish from verified sustainable sources by 2020.

Sustainably managed fisheries are those that maintain healthy fish stocks, minimize the impact of fishing on ecosystems and manage the seas, oceans and fisheries responsibly. We fully support global efforts to restore depleted fish stocks, improve fishery management and conserve marine environments.


On this page:

Our approach | Our actions | Our goals and progress


Our approach

The McDonald’s Sustainable Fisheries Standard defines our approach for purchases of wild-caught fish for our Filet-O-Fish sandwiches. We began the journey back in 2001, working with Conservation International and later, The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, along with our suppliers, to set up a rating program for fisheries based on management quality, fish stock status and marine environment efforts. The program requires improvement plans for fisheries that score poorly and, if progress is delayed, we will temporarily move our sourcing away from that fishery but continue working with the different stakeholders on improvements, with the aim of returning to that fishery once our standard is met.

“The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership has been proud to work with McDonald’s for many years and has seen huge improvements in the quality of fisheries management as a result of our joint efforts. We commend the company’s visionary approach to supporting the improvement of fisheries rather than just switching to other sources.”

Jim Cannon, Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership

Since the early 2000s, we’ve continued to support the improvement of the fisheries we source from and continue to work with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, who review each of  the fisheries in our supply chain against our standard on an annual basis.  Additionally the majority of the fisheries from which we source are also MSC certified and, McDonald’s displays the MSC certification logo for our Filet-o-Fish in the U.S., Canada, Brazil and many of our European markets1, where fisheries are certified against the MSC Chain of Custody traceability standard.

“McDonald’s was the first global restaurant chain to put the MSC label on its menus in Europe. Over time, they have built on those strong foundations with MSC certification for McDonald’s restaurants in America, Canada and Brazil, making McDonald’s a world leader in sustainable seafood sourcing. Long-term partnerships like this underpin the MSC program. They help to incentivize fisheries around the world to seek MSC certification, delivering improvements where needed to support healthy oceans for generations to come.”

Rupert Howes, CEO, Marine Stewardship Council

Our fish sustainability work supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a global agenda to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, specifically:

As well as these, we’ve mapped our Scale for Good initiatives to all 17 goals.


Our actions

The journey behind a Filet-O-Fish

Take a glimpse behind the scenes at Espersen, McDonald’s fish supplier in Denmark, which supplies restaurants in 42 countries. Espersen has been processing cod and haddock for McDonald’s for more than 40 years!


Protecting fragile marine environments

As part of an industry-led voluntary agreement brokered by Greenpeace to protect fragile arctic marine habitats, we announced we would no longer source fish caught in vulnerable or not yet explored areas of the Barents and Norwegian seas in 2016. This was a proactive response to concerns that, due to climate change-related ice melt, fishing boats may be able to operate in previously un-fished areas around the sensitive Svalbard Archipelago.

We will continue to keep this policy in place until there is robust, independent research demonstrating that fishing in the area will not cause serious harm to the marine environment.

Teaching the next generation

To underscore our commitment to sustainably managed fisheries and make the topic accessible for children, McDonald’s U.S. created “Reel It In!” – a card game about the importance of sustainable fishing that all generations of Filet-O-Fish fans can understand. Click here to find out more and download it to play.


Reel it in
Reel it in


Our goals and progress


By 2020, all the wild-caught fish purchased for use in McDonald’s restaurants will be from verified sustainable sources.



Our focus is on assuring the sustainability of the fish used in our famous McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich. This represents over 97% of all wild-caught fish used globally by the Company.

In 2018, 98% of the fish for the Filet-O-Fish was sourced from sustainably managed wild-caught fisheries, assessed and verified annually against the McDonald’s Sustainable Fisheries Standard by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. We are partnering with our supply chain to verify the remaining 2% of the fish sourced for Filet-O-Fish by 2020.


1. The full list of countries where McDonald’s displays the MSC certification logo: U.S., France, U.K., Canada, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, Poland, Sweden, Morocco, Norway, Hungary, Denmark, Romania, Portugal, Ireland, Czech Republic, Belarus, Croatia,  Serbia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Greece, Malta, Brazil


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